Upenn Digital Media Design, Digital Arts And Media Design, B

Program Description

The Bachelor of Design (B.Des.) in Digital Arts and Media Design (DART) is a multidisciplinary digital arts and design undergraduate degree in the College of Arts and Architecture’s School of Visual Arts. Digital Arts and Media Design approaches design through the lens of the visual arts, as a critical, creative, and experimental studio-based practice. The major prepares students to become leaders in digital media fields where their commanding knowledge of emerging technologies allows them to contribute and innovate in creative media design careers.

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Students’ progress through a series of core courses in which they develop research, design, and computational skills to enhance their capacity for critical thinking. In addition to these core experiences, students hone creative thinking capabilities in a range of studio-based digital art and design courses. In the final year of study, students work rigorously on a senior thesis project based on topics of personal interests and areas of intensive study in the digital arts. A purpose of the thesis is to prepare students to meet the varying challenges they will face as digital art and design professionals.

Students may choose from one of three primary tracks in the program:

Digital Art and Digital Design Emphasis: In this track students create individualized 2d-3d digital arts and design learning paths that may include UX/UI design (user experience/user interface), visual concept art and design, 3d modeling and digital fabrication, 2d-3d digital imaging and computer graphics, as well as the most recent emerging forms of digital art and design.Interactive Media Emphasis: In this track students create individualized learning paths for interactive media design. Students learn computational skills as visual thinkers, designing increasingly complex interactive experiences individually and in teams. Students take courses in game art, game design, physical computing, mobile and web design, virtual worlds, interactive media design, data visualization and cultural analytics.Time Based Media Emphasis: In this track students create individualized learning paths for 2d and 3d time based digital arts and media design including motion graphics, animation, computer graphics and pre-visualization as well as video compositing.

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What is Digital Arts and Media Design?

Digital Arts and Media Design uses digital arts technologies in studio-lab settings to challenge young artists and designers to expand their ideas as they explore new languages of visual expression and communication. Following familiar studio ways of thinking and making traditionally associated with practices such as mixing pigments in painting, or shaping clay in ceramics, digital artists manipulate computer software through coding to expand the potential for creating new forms of image making. In an electronic environment, the single work of art may be replaced by multiple copies that are cloned and reworked using a range of image-making systems. Digital artworks may be exhibited in a variety of forms, such as digital prints, computer printouts, or other hard copy formats of any scale where each translation offers different interpretations. Digital art may also be encountered through networks, interactive games, simulations, or as immersive environments that require active participation by a viewer.

You Might Like This Program If…

Your curiosity and creativity is stimulated by thinking visually in computer languages and graphic communication, and you are inspired by the thought that a digital device is a flexible and adaptive ‘studio’ space where you come up with your best ideas. You will plan and apply your creative design skills in a climate of invention and collaboration in interdisciplinary projects that explore changing visual technologies in art and design.

Entrance Procedures

Incoming First Year Students

Incoming first year students must apply to Penn State. Students who are accepted to DART through the undergraduate admissions application will be admitted to the School of Visual Arts pre-major (AAART). Students will submit a portfolio for entrance to DART (B.DES) major at the end of their 2nd semester.

Change of Major/Change of Campus Students

Change of major/Change of Campus students must have a cumulative GPA of 2.00 or above and are required to submit a portfolio to enter the AAART pre-major. Portfolios to enter pre-major are submitted through Slideroom and are reviewed on a rolling basis. Portfolios should include 10-12 images of the applicant’s work and a statement (500-word max) to describe one of the artworks. Students will submit a portfolio for entrance to DART (B.DES) major at the end of their 2nd semester in AAART.

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Transfer Students

Transfer students must apply for undergraduate admissions to Penn State. Undergraduate applications for admission to Penn State must be complete and submitted before uploading the required portfolio for entry to AAART pre-major. Portfolios are submitted through Slideroom and are reviewed on a rolling basis and should include 10-12 images of the applicant’s work and a statement (500-word max) to describe one of the artworks. Students will submit a portfolio for entrance to DART (B.DES) major at the end of their 2nd semester in AAART.

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Design degree in Digital Arts and Media Design, a minimum of 121 credits is required:

Program Requirements

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 0-3
Requirements for the Major 82

0-9 of the 45 credits for General Education are included in the Requirements for the Major. This includes up to 0-6 credits of GA courses and 0-3 credits of GQ courses.

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General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol 


appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.) Quantification (GQ): 6 credits Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits Knowledge Domains Arts (GA): 6 credits Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits Humanities (GH): 6 credits Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement) Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

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University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

United States Cultures: 3 credits International Cultures: 3 credits Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

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Requirements for the Major

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

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